bullers-albatross3601

Buller's Albatross (Thalassarche bulleri) Pacific Ocean off Sydney NSW
Canon EOS 40D Lens 100-400mm L IS USM at 100mm ISO 640 7.1 1/2500 available light 12 June 2010
Taken on the June Sydney Pelagic Trip a monthly journey that leaves 7.00am and returns 3.00pm to observe both whales and also journeys out to the Continental Shelf to observe seabirds most of which are not seen in shore. Buller's Albatross is a striking bird by any standards and breeds on Snares and Solander Islands off New Zealand. They frequent sub-tropical and sub-antarctic waters which have temperatures above 16 degrees C  and in fact the water temperature was 18 degrees C on this trip.
Buller's Albatross is considered vulnerable and an excellent detailed paper is worth reading at the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) website:
http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=64460
Estimated population statistics: The total breeding population has been estimated at 11–14 000 pairs, or about 50–55 000 birds in total (Environment Australia 2001f; Sagar & Stahl 2005) also included is a distribution map for the species is also provided at the above site. The map indicates that Buller's Albatross may be found in the seas off the far north coast of New South Wales, Victoria and the eastern third of South Australia. This is a very distinctive species and likely not to be identified incorrectly. Certainly for this viewer it made my day. Nicholas Haas a regular experienced observer supplied the following observations:
1. Wilson's Storm-Petrel: 1 (over the slick at the shelf)       
2. White-faced Storm-Petrel: 1 (over the slick at the shelf; [seen only by one observer])       
3. Gibson's (Wandering) Albatross: 1    
4. Black-browed Albatross: common       
5. Campbell (Black-browed) Albatross: common    
6. Shy Albatross: present       
7. White-capped (Shy) Albatross: present        
8. Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross: present       
9. Buller's Albatross: 3+ (2+ adults, 1 imm.)
10. Northern Giant-Petrel: 2+ [plus one possible Southern Giant-Petrel]
1. Cape Petrel (New Zealand ssp. australe): 2   
2. ANTARCTIC PRION: common at the shelf [plus several possible Slender-billed Prions; I need to check more photos to confirm this species]      
1. Fairy Prion: less common and closer to shore than Antarctic  
2. Short-tailed Shearwater: 2   
3. Fluttering Shearwater: present       
4. Great-winged Petrel (macroptera): 4  
5. Providence Petrel: 2         
6. Australasian Gannet: present         
7. Pied Cormorant: 2 (in harbour)       
8. Brown Skua: 4        
9. White-fronted Tern: 1 juv.   
10. Crested Tern: present       
11. Silver Gull: common
Mammals:        
1. Humpback Whale       
2. Oceanic Bottlenose Dolphin

In all an exciting trip to see the above list which includes seven Albatross species !!!

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